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UN secretary-general forms group to discuss Burma

Dec 20, 2007 (DVB), United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has established a 14-member "group of friends" to discuss how best to address the situation in Burma.

The group is made up of Australia, Indonesia, Russia, the US, China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, France, Norway, Thailand, India, Portugal and the UK, and will hold informal meetings whenever it is deemed necessary.

A spokesperson for the secretary-general said that the group would support the good offices mandate on Burma.

"[T]he Secretary-General wanted a broadly representative group of Member States to whom he could initially turn to for support and advice in carrying out the good offices mandate on Myanmar, and these countries all agreed to take part on the group," she said.

The first meeting of the group was due to take place yesterday, and was to include a briefing by Ban Ki-moon's special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari.

Reporting by DVB

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